Technological Singularity

Maynard Handley handleym at ricochet.net
Sat Jun 6 12:08:08 EST 1998


In article <y6g1hjkby5.fsf at tweedledumb.cygnus.com>, Craig Burley
<burley at tweedledumb.cygnus.com> wrote:

> "James Sharman" <james at exaflop.demon.co.uk> writes:
> 
> > On a completely different track,  who is to say that the eventual
> > replacement of humanity with an enhanced version is not the way to go. It
> > may be possible to view this development as a bizzar twist on evolution. You
> > should also rememeber that these supermen will be our decendants and it does
> > not take to much for us to wish the best for the future.
> > 
> > thag: ook,  look at them with clubs and fire
> > thog: They replacing us,  must put a stop to it.
> 
> That was my biggest problem with the monumentally stupid US television
> series "Prey" -- exactly why was a new race of superior beings a
> *problem*?  Half-;), of course.

I know it's only tangentially relevant to this thread (let alone to
comp.arch) but many of the readers of this group might be interested in 

http://www.newscientist.com/ns/980516/features.html

This discusses the supposed obliteration around 550 million years ago by
normal animals (ie kingdom Metazoa) of an alternative kingdom (Ediacarans)
that looked like it might land up filling the same niche as animals now
fill.

The piece is interesting for two reasons. 
One is simply mentioning some paleology that may not be known to many
non-specialists.
The second is that it appears to reach a new (and perhaps insurmountable)
high in the never-ending quest of western humanity for stronger and
stronger self-flaggellation. The whole tone of the piece is basically that
"we" (not just humans now but Metazoa as a whole) committed genocide back
in 550 million BC by wiping competition that was destined to form
intelligent life. Not strongly pointed out is that the most intelligent
representative of Metazoa at the time was probably a trilobite---the guilt
we should all feel is presumably what matters.

(People who are interested in this sort of stuff may want to read 
_The Crucible of Creation_ by Simon Conway Morris, pretty cheap at Amazon,
pretty short (just 200 pages or so), very interesting, and worth the price
simply for the oh-so-discrete yet vicious barbs at Stephen Jay Gould.)

> In any case, recent events have strongly suggested that one of the
> most likely recent scenarios of a takeover of the human race is
> now rather unlikely to take place.
> 
> In particular, it's now pretty clear the Spice Girls can't stay
> organized over the long run.

Proof, of course, that what's driving human evolution stopped being
natural selection and switched purely to sexual selection quite some time
ago.

Maynard

-- 
My opinion only



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